East Kilbride’s Village Theatre was the venue for what I can describe as the BEST EVER gig by in my opinion, that I have attended lately by two of the best UK Country acts on the go at the moment. Katee Kross and the Amberjax and Raintown starred in this co-headline gig and the 2 contrasting acts were supported by 14 (yes 14) year old Daniel Crow and as I’m writing this review 2 days after the gig I am still very much sitting with a grin as wide as the new bridge over the Forth Crossing. I believe this partnership and gig concept has been a while in the making but for me it was more than worth the wait and I hope it can be repeated to make a tour for others to see. The venue is a lovely theatre with over 300 seats and with very few seats empty I can only say that for the 3 hours we got entertained at £12 I hope everyone there thought it was tremendous value for money. The venue sound, lighting and general staff were fantastic.
Daniel Crow was the first on stage and at 14 years old and being a student at The Bishopbriggs School of Music warmed up the audience with his great young voice and guitar playing. The youngster did a few of his own songs and covers and was not fazed at all standing there in front of us all. Speaking to himself and his mother in the foyer afterwards Daniel proved to be a young lad with a great attitude towards his musical future. A star in the making he has had to adapt his style due to his voice breaking. This young lad could be another of the young set breaking onto the music scene in the UK.
Katee Kross then took the stage with her band The Amberjax consisting of lead guitar, upright bass, drums and fiddle with Katee on guitar as well. The first song was a Katee original and involved her guitarist Ross making a quick change of guitar before continuing into “Tumblin Dice”. The set included more of Katee’s back catalogue and a few new tracks from her forthcoming 4th album due next year. Katee tells some great stories in her songs and I would encourage people to maybe have a wee watch of her and Ross’s Home Brewed Sessions on her Facebook page and other platforms on a Monday night. I think I’ve said on other reviews that I always feel that Katee can’t get better after the previous gig but not resting on her laurels she always strives to improve with each performance and on Saturday night she certainly did just that. Mondays see Katee and Ross trying their best to write a new song or create a story base for a new song each week. One of her signature tracks is “Bluebird” and this latest performance has to be the best rendition of it I have had the pleasure of listening to. Many of her tracks are ballad type songs but there are some foot tapping and rousing songs there too. After a superb set Katee received a hugely deserved round of applause and with cheers for an encore she certainly delivered the goods.
After a short interval we were about to have a long-anticipated appearance from Raintown. This year Paul and Claire have been very heavily involved in trying to write and co-write material for their next album and as, yet the release date has still to be finalised. The 4 guys in the band supporting Raintown entered the stage to the great visuals projected on the stage behind them before Paul and Claire entered the stage to a rousing reception. The crowd were certainly buzzing at the performance by Raintown and some of them were up on their feet dancing and singing along to what I would describe as a much rockier style of country. There were many of the stable favourites in the set interspersed with a cover or two and some never heard before tracks. The new material might just surprise a few and if you see the videos from the gig, I hope you will enjoy it. Drew Burnett has a few videos up on his Facebook and YouTube pages as does Raymie Swan. The guys in the band left the stage for a well earned rest and we were then treated to a stripped back, how it kicks off performance of a never before performed live track called “My Drum My Beat” with Claire on vocals accompanied by Paul on acoustic guitar and wow was this brilliant. Another new track is a song co-written with lovely Scottish songwriter Elaine Lennon and if get to the end of the song “My Whole World” without a tear in your eyes I would be amazed. As I said at the start this was a co-headline gig and when Raintown completed their set they left the stage for Katee to return along with Stevie, John, Scott and Harry from Raintown and Ross from her own band to sing another song before Raintown came back out on stage and along with Katee and Danny did a couple more songs ending in with a bit more audience participation singing “Take Me Home Country Roads”. IF these two acts can arrange to take this show on the road you are in for a treat if you can get to see it.
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